Hot Stuff Pizza opened its first franchise 33 years ago today on December 17, 1986. So, it was a bit of a surprise when representatives from Hot Stuff’s corporate office came into the Milbank store to present Greg Thomas and his staff with an award for the longest continuously running Hot Stuff franchise in the world. The Milbank store opened March 27, 1987.
Greg got his start working with Hot Stuff Pizza in December 1990 and purchased the franchise in 2007. He said in nearly 30 years, he has seen a lot of changes. Today, there are over 800 franchises and licenses operating in the US and dozens of others in Canada, Mexico, the UK, Guam, South Korea, Japan, and Dubai. The troops can also get Hot Stuff at 26 military bases in Cuba, Italy, Diego Garcia, Bahrain, South Korea, Japan, and Guam.
Greg says, “The biggest change, though, was the introduction of breakfast pizzas in 1991. “Hot Stuff is credited with inventing breakfast pizza and Greg says, “Breakfast sales are a big part of my day.”
He recalls, “When we started serving breakfast pizzas, I had to cut up the sausage patties and scramble all the eggs. Now, everything arrives ready to go. In the early days, we used a dough sheeter to press out the dough, and now it’s a dough disc.”
The store offers personal, medium, and large pizzas. But Greg says, “Soon, we will have both personal pizzas and slices. With slices, he says he can please everyone —personal pizzas appeal to those who prefer a little thicker crust.
Greg says the Hot Stuff take-and-bake pizzas are popular for fundraisers. Students from the Milbank Schools sell the frozen pizzas to raise money for events such as the post-prom event put on by the junior class.
“Hot Stuff believes it is very important to give back to the community,” Greg says. Among other things, the corporation hosts a golf tournament in Sioux Falls which benefits the Sanford Children’s Hospital. He says he tries to emulate their attitude about charity. “I give back to the community because they have been very good to us.”
He also says when you have a craving for a pizza, Hot Stuff is probably available. It’s offered from the time the Food-n-Fuel store opens until closing. And there’s a good chance you’ll be ordering pepperoni. “My best selling pizza is pepperoni,” Greg says. “Pepperoni is everybody’s favorite.”
While you’re waiting for your cheesy goodness, check out the new plaque on the wall. It reads: World’s longest operating Hot Stuff Pizza store. Greg Thomas Food -n-Fuel Milbank, SD. First opened March 27, 1987. Our deepest thanks to you for sharing our dream and living it with us.